“Smell of Decay” – Billions of marine animals “cooked” due to catastrophic heat wave in the northern United States

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Since the devastating Pacific Northwest heat wave began in late June, several disastrous impacts have permeated the ocean, which is home to billions of marine life, making it unlivable for most marine animals.

Marine biologist Christopher Harley of the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia had seen alarming signs of more disastrous impacts this extreme heat wave could have on more than a billion sea creatures in the Northwest from the Pacific, including the “rotten smell” of “cooked” barnacles, seaweed and small fish along the shores.

“It was that putrid smell of rot,” Harley said.

(Photo: Photo by Jack Charles on Unsplash)

These creatures appear to have been “cooked alive” due to intense heat; starfish struggling to find shade, gaping mussels along the rocks, crisp tissue between their shells.

Hoping to measure the body temperature of the mussels, Harley took her team up the coast with their special equipment, but the mussels were long dead by day three of the record-breaking heat wave.

Scientists have estimated more than a billion marine creature deaths in the shallow waters of the Pacific Northwest in just a week, and could span the entire ecosystem.

Just a taste of what’s to come

As human-caused climate change continues to escalate, rising temperatures and unprecedented heat episodes could be just the beginning of the most disastrous effects that can occur on people, plants and animals. . Climate scientists warn that “aggravating disasters” continue to wreak havoc on ecosystems, infrastructure and agriculture, and could persist into the future.

“It’s going to continue to get hotter,” said Andrew Hoell, a meteorologist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s physical science lab. “This means that it will take a lot of humidity in terms of precipitation to avoid drought,” he explained. “It’s going to be a game-changer in terms of the way we live.”

Hoell notes that the temperature spike will always be linked to human activities and may become more frequent, intense, and long-lasting.

Also read: How to Keep Your Pets Safe and Protected During the Heatwave

A stern warning and a call for change

“The way I see it is that this is a very stern warning,” said Bradfield Lyon, professor at the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, looking like the current climate situation at fire drills. taught in schools in emergencies. “The professor was saying, ‘Now don’t panic, but head to the exits as quickly as possible,” he said. “In this case, the exit is burning fossil fuels. We don’t need to panic, but we certainly need to move in that direction as quickly as possible.”

The extreme heat and drought individually devastated nearly half of the contiguous United States in just a month, NOAA scientists said.

This historic record “basically means it’s going to be so hot all the time,” which also means stressed plants, struggling animals and shallow waterways making habitats inhospitable; truly a devastating event, the gravity of which calls for progress and global attention.

Also read: ‘Firenado’ and more: unfamiliar words that should be learned as climate change worsens

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